Amphetamine analogs methamphetamine and 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) differentially affect speech

Gina F. Marrone, Jennifer S. Pardo, Robert M. Krauss, Carl L. Hart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Rationale: Most reports of the effects of methamphetamine and 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) on speech have been anecdotal. Objectives: The current study used a within-participant design to assess the effects of methamphetamine and MDMA on speech. Materials and methods: Eleven recreational users of amphetamines completed this inpatient, within-participant, double-blind study, during which they received placebo, methamphetamine (20, 40 mg), and MDMA (100 mg) on separate days. Following drug administration, study participants described movies viewed the previous evening and completed mood scales. Results: Methamphetamine increased quantity of speech, fluency, and self-ratings of talkativeness and alertness, while it decreased the average duration of nonjuncture unfilled pauses. MDMA decreased fluency and increased self-ratings of inability to concentrate. To determine if methamphetamine- and MDMA-related effects were perceptible, undergraduates listened to the participants' movie descriptions and rated their coherence and the speaker's mood. Following methamphetamine, descriptions were judged to be more coherent and focused than they were following MDMA. Conclusions: Methamphetamine improved verbal fluency and MDMA adversely affected fluency. This pattern of effects is consistent with the effects of these drugs on functioning in other cognitive domains. In general, methamphetamine effects on speech were inconsistent with effects popularly attributed to this drug, while MDMA-related effects were in agreement with some anecdotal reports and discordant with others.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)169-177
Number of pages9
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2010


  • Amphetamines
  • Ecstasy
  • Humans
  • Methamphetamine
  • Performance
  • Speech


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